Apple could be about to loosen up restrictions on the iPhone and allow people to choose their own default apps, according to a new report. The iPhone has always been famous for its more restrictive approach when compared with rival Android. It means that users are forced to stick with Apple’s own Mail and Music apps as the default choice on its software, for instance.
But the company is considering allowing apps made by other companies to take those roles instead, in what would be one of the most momentous changes to come to the iOS platform, according to a new report from Bloomberg.
In recent years, Apple has slowly been loosening its grip on iOS, allowing things like third-party keyboards and giving developers more access to Siri, but it’s drawn a hard line at default apps.
The news comes as Apple is facing increasing antitrust scrutiny over how it manages its platforms. Last year there were reports that the EU was preparing to launch an antitrust investigation over Spotify’s complaint that Apple unfairly pushes consumers towards its own music streaming service. Meanwhile, in the US, Bluetooth tracking company Tile recently complained in a congressional antitrust hearing that Apple unfairly undercuts potential competitors on its platform.
Apple currently ships around 38 apps with the iPhone and iPad, according to Bloomberg. These can gain a small-yet-significant advantage by being set as the device’s default software installed on hundreds of millions of iOS and iPadOS devices. Apple has previously said that it includes these apps to give its users a “great experience right out of the box” and added that there are “many successful competitors” to its own apps.